The Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances' Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS) is responsible for the identification, evaluation and remediation of sites within the state of Delaware that had past releases of hazardous substances. The Section manages the hazardous substance release sites in Delaware in accordance with the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA). The SIRS Administrator is Tim Ratsep. He can be reached at 302-395-2600. The SIRS office address is 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720 (Map & Driving Directions).
Delaware enacted its Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) in 1990 to address sites potentially contaminated with hazardous substance releases in the state that would not be addressed under the federal superfund program. Three major programs are administered under HSCA. They are the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), the Brownfield Program, and the HSCA Enforcement program.
The Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) has been developed to assist the responsible parties to voluntarily clean up properties contaminated by the release of hazardous substances. The benefit of participating in the VCP is that it can eliminate the need for costly litigation.
In July of 1995, HSCA was amended to encourage voluntary cleanup of sites and in 2001, enabling legislation that introduced brownfields was enacted. On August 3, 2004 the Brownfields Development Act was signed to extend certain liability protection to developers of properties that DNREC certifies as Brownfields in an effort to encourage development. The Brownfield program allows developers and prospective purchasers who did not contribute to the contamination on their site to clean up their site and not be liable for pre-existing contamination.
DNREC has made funds available for eligible activities related to environmental remediation and investigation as detailed in the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act Policy on Brownfields Grants. Brownfields are defined as abandoned, vacant, or underused real property where development or redevelopment may be hindered by the reasonably held belief that the property may be environmentally contaminated. A study was recently conducted by the University of Delaware to quantify the significant economic benefit of the brownfields program. You may read more about the study in a press release written about it, and will also find the the brownfields study online.
The HSCA Enforcement program requires the responsible party to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and allows DNREC to recover the costs from the responsible party in the event that DNREC must perform the cleanup. It also allows the use of the HSCA fund to cleanup sites where a viable responsible party is not identifiable.
SIRS conducts Natural Resource Damage Assessments and Restoration (NRDAR) with Delaware’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Division of Water Resources, and various federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore habitat and recreation that was lost due to contamination.
SIRS assists EPA with oversight for CERCLA sites, including Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection (PA/SI) and National Priorities List (NPL) sites. SIRS also provides oversight for active Department of Defense (DoD) sites and Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS).
SIRS Mission Statement
The mission of the Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS) is to identify sites with releases of hazardous substances, prioritize them for cleanup based on the risk posed by these sites to public health, safety and the environment, and to promote the reuse of contaminated properties.